Yorktown Drafts Law Requiring Utility Companies to Tidy up Poles

The new legislation would outlaw “stop-gap” solutions such as adding new poles to splint broken ones. Credits: Supervisor's Office

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The utility poles that line Yorktown’s streets may deliver valuable services such as electricity, telephone and cable services; however, the town board believes the utility companies provide a disservice by leaving them up once they get damaged.

A public hearing will be held March 21 on a proposed law that would require utility companies to take responsibility for the removal of damaged structures in a timely manner.

Once a utility pole is damaged or weathered in some way, utility companies may transfer lines from the damaged poles to a new one, said Town Attorney Michael J. McDermott. However, more than one utility company may use the same structure, so once the last line is removed, it’s unclear which company should take responsibility for removing the damaged pole.

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Supervisor Michal Grace said it is common to see several poles tied together, sometimes sloppily, such as the three poles tied together outside of the Yorktown United Methodist Church. With nothing to compel utility companies to do otherwise, he said, the poles are left that way indefinitely.

The board said this stop-gap method of repair is unsightly and sometimes obstructs the path of pedestrians below. The proposed local law will require utility companies to promptly remove any equipment from damaged poles upon the receipt of a written notice from the highway superintendent within 90 days.

Additionally, town officials said, it will be “the joint and several obligation” of any public utility making use of either the new or old support beams to dispose of the damaged one within 120 days after the installation of the new one.

If passed, violations of the local law could be punishable by fines of up to $2,000. A copy of the proposed legislation is available on the town’s website.

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